Dr. Regin Prenter, professor of theology at the University of Aarhus, has warned members of the Danish Parliament that too great a dependence upon government will stifle self-reliance of the people and make them incapable of democratic self-government.
Speaking at the annual worship service in Copenhagen, marking the opening of Parliament, he declared that “the greatest danger of the modern welfare state lies in its failure to acknowledge its limitations.
“The danger is that the State not only cares materially for those who are not able to take care of themselves, but that it will care both materially and spiritually for all of us … to such a degree that the personal responsibility of the individual is weakened by it.”
Taking as his text, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” Dr. Prenter praised “the far-reaching social legislation” of recent years which has “put an end to much human need and misery.”
“But,” he added, “a democracy can live only as long as there is a feeling of responsibility in the people. On the day when the politicians alone have any responsibility and all of us let ourselves be blindly led by them … democracy will be finished.”
Sharp criticism of the sermon was voiced by the Danish press. Editors took issue on the grounds that it was a “political sermon” rather than the “ordinary devotional service” customarily delivered on the opening of Parliament.
In response to the criticisms, Dr. Prenter said “a colorless church service is of no devotional value.” (He is chairman of the Commission on Theology of the Lutheran World Federation.)
Changes In Hungary
The presidium of the General Synod of the Hungarian Lutheran Church has acted in Budapest to widen a reorganization of the Church begun in the wake of the anti-Soviet uprising during October.
It confirmed the reinstatement of Dr. Jajos Ordass, head of the southern district and acting leader of the Church. The presidium announced that elections will take place this month to fill all other church posts, including bishoprics. Results of the elections are scheduled to be announced January 19.
The General Synod also reinstated all pastors who had been removed or suspended by the former Communist regimes for political reasons.
Bishop Ordass replaces Bishop Laszlo Dezsery, former head of the district which includes Budapest. Bishop Dezsery was named to the post, with the approval of the Communist authorities, in 1950, only a week after Bishop Ordass was released from prison, where he served 20 months of a two-year sentence for alleged “foreign currency manipulation.” Bishop Dezsery resigned recently and may soon quit the ministry.
The General Synod also named Bishop Zoltan Turoczy to replace, temporarily, Bishop Lajos Veto, another Communist appointee who resigned, as head of the Trans-Danubian district.
Greater Manchester (England) Evangelistic Campaign, with the Rev. Joseph Blinco as speaker, scheduled March 23 to April 13, at Albert Hall. Mr. Blinco now serving as associate evangelist of Billy Graham team.
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